Cockroach Robot To The Rescue

Scientists over at UC Berkeley have created a cockroach inspired robot that can scurry through obstacles rather than navigate around them. Most robots today that navigate through a field of obstacles simply avoid them and go around using sensors that are typically large and bulky. However this little robot is only about 7 inches long and by simply not using sensors they managed to reduce the size of the roachbot by a considerable amount.

This little roachbot took two years to develop and was modelled on the shape of a cockroach. Originally the robots body was square or rectangular, resulting in problems. As it tried to navigate through obstacles it would end up turning left or right and would often times get stuck. However by making the change to a smooth rounded shell the robots agility improved to an impressive standard, allowing it to scurry through the obstacles that mimic grass with relative ease.

video courtesy of the New Scientist youtube channel

The innovative part of this engineering is the fact that the robot can navigate through obstacles without the use of sensors. While the method behind it may not seem like that big of a leap it is incredibly useful for things like search and rescue missions; it could also open up a vast number of possibilities for the robotics industry. “The goal”, Chen Li who is a mechanical engineer from UC Berkeley says, “was to understand how small animals traverse dense obstacles”. Science has always taken inspiration from nature and this newest revelation is simply an extension of that.

Conor John

As a graduate of Computer Science I have a very keep interest in technology and try to stay informed on as much as I can. I have also always been interested in science, mainly biology, nature and health. I hope you enjoy my articles.